BATON ROUGE, La – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana reminds families that summer is a perfect time to take your children to the doctor – especially if it’s been more than a year since their last checkup.
“A checkup should definitely be on your back-to-school checklist,” said Dr. Tracy Lemelle, a pediatrician who is one of Blue Cross’ medical directors. “Children grow and develop much faster than adults, and having regular visits with your family’s doctor is important. Checkups help you stay on top of any needed shots, screenings or tests your children should have.”
Doctor visits are also a good chance to ask about any new activities your child is interested in doing this school year, Dr. Lemelle said. “If your child needs a medical form to play sports, do club activities or for other reasons, you can bring that to the checkup and let the doctor fill it out. Then, you’ll be ready to go when school starts,” she said.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies have regular checkups between birth and age two and a half. After that, children need at least one doctor’s visit a year.
A big reason for these checkups is to make sure your child is up to date on vaccines to protect against serious illnesses like tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, measles and Hepatitis B. Many of these vaccines should be given when children are infants through age 6. Older children need three vaccines at ages 11-12 to protect against meningitis and HPV and to get a tetanus/diphtheria/whooping cough (Tdap) booster.
Children ages six months and older should get a flu shot and a COVID-19 vaccine. Children 5 and older who have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine should get a booster when eligible, depending on their health and risk factors.
Blue Cross covers the COVID-19 vaccine and boosters at $0 out of pocket for eligible members of individual and employer health plans. Eligible members of Medicare and Medicaid plans or uninsured patients also can get a COVID-19 booster vaccine at no cost. This no-cost coverage is required by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. If you have questions about vaccine coverage on your health plan, contact Customer Service at the number on your member ID card.
In addition to getting needed vaccines, a checkup is a great opportunity to:
• Make sure your child is hitting all age-appropriate milestones for growth and development
• Ask about any concerns you or your child have related to learning abilities or participation in activities
• Check in on your child’s mental and emotional well-being, especially if your child is going through a life or family change, has shown ongoing signs of depression, fear or anxiety, or is struggling to make or keep social connections
Most health plans cover an annual wellness visit at very low or no out-of-pocket cost.
“Don’t wait until the end of summer, when everyone will be trying to get this done,” Dr. Lemelle said. “Call the doctor’s office today and schedule your child’s checkup.”
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About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians. Founded in New Orleans in 1934, we are a tax-paying nonprofit health insurer with offices in every major region to serve our customers. We have been recognized for the past four years as an honoree of The Civic 50, named by Points of Light as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in the United States.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. We invite all Louisianians to visit our website at www.bcbsla.com or talk to us on social media @BCBSLA.